Many times in my life I have been warned by other people, or better said, I have been the recipient of remarks from a third-person about how someone is thinking about me based on what I have said, or rarely, done.
So, here we are: about most of those individuals I quite never bothered myself about, especially as these things were happening to me since I was quite young, I guess maybe as young as I could have been. For example I was lectured that I hurt people's feeling by not allowing them to kiss my face, but I was the two or three years old whom the adults that my parents knew them but I didn't know them or didn't like them on instance, weren't allowed to kiss, or otherwise I would scream and yell and so on ... When I remember things like this, I wonder: "man, how could such a kid allow a man to rape him," but you know, that's what happens when your parents and caretakers wish you to comply to making people feel good.
So, I absolutely don't agree to making people feel good by doing something, if you don't have your own reasons for doing that thing. This is so important to me, that this young woman with whom I had a love in the first sight feeling in my heart, –about her heart she herself and the God knows better, I don't wish to imply anything;– and you can't imagine she smiling whenever she saw me meant a world to me, because I loved her, because I was really externally and internally damaged, beyond damaged back then, and I don't believe anyone in her entire life would be as needy to her smile as I was –and perhaps I still am, if we don't take into account some of the not nice treatments;– and I asked her not to smile to me when she is feeling unwell, I didn't explained her the reason, because I didn't want to say something along the lines that: "I want you to love me and hope you want me to love you too, and I wish the understanding about love being putting the other person before oneself, so first I need your face to let me know how you feel, then you're allowed to rescue my soul with your smile dear;" The reason I didn't like to say these things is because the past experiences have shown me a woman, at best, would take statements like this as "flirt" but when I mean them with all my heart, someone perceiving them a "flirt," would be such a bullshit that I want to kill him or her for the dishonor to my integrity. I don't mean it literarily, especially as we live in times where the concept of duel is long outdated and libel laws are there to protect wealthy men and women, and not the dignity of human beings and to be honest, I don't think it is the "law" that have to protect individual's dignity in exchanges of words, I think we as human beings should have the ability to fight and argue with each other about stuff that gets under our skin in personal exchanges and when they aren't the concern of society, no third-party authority should get involved, being it law-enforcement, the church, the priest, one's friends and neighbors and etc. I think part of being a human is having conflicts, because we are not perfect, and I think in some rare occasions even violent conflicts are contributor to solving an issue. Very very very honestly, I think I prefer if I have hurt the feelings of someone I love by something I have said, to be slapped in the face in public, instead of him or her going to people and talking about how horrible he or she has felt, or retelling the events in order to receive some affirmation that his or her feelings of being hurt do matter. I have seen some people argue that couples who hit each other are dysfunctional regardless of the reason for such interactions, but I think there can be different background stories to the situations and some of the violent couples are just individuals who are exceptionally sensitive and are learning each other's emotional life, and yes, human beings are unique and the same thing that may bother you, may mean nothing to other people. Even people who truly love each other, may not be perfectly similar in how they emotionally react to external inputs and that's a good thing because if two individuals react totally the same, it decreases their chances of survival, generally speaking.
I'll be publishing a note I wrote a while ago, actually two or three separate notes about couple of different aspects of the same issue, but to put things short: I'll try to be more like ordinary healthy individuals, but coming from my past, there are many things that don't apply to me and I have really hard to time to understand, for example, I learned about "desensitization" being side effect of being exposed to things you haven't been exposed before, especially in the example of erotic interaction from a psychology class. Because me, personally, I learned that movies I watch are highly disruptive for others after a long while, in part because rarely I spoke about my favorite movies to others, but I mean, you know, I watch movies that feature themes which are so horrible that people won't be able to sleep or stop thinking about them after watching them for weeks; me on the other hand, I'm so content and so emotionally less disturbed when I watch those movies for the first time, because I feel like I'm not the only one. For example, I was giving this talk, and in it, I recommended a movie and I put a warning like: "look, don't watch it unless you have someone who loves you more than him or herself around you ... because otherwise if you can emotionally grasp the movie, you will very likely lose your trust in humanity" but what I didn't tell them is that I watched this movie, and I had nobody who loved me, in fact, I never felt being loved, –or to be precise, then two times I felt being loved were about women1 who treated me in ways that makes it unlikely to ever consider them loving me;– and I watched this movie and I felt "wow, there is someone who could understand the life I have lived," you know, my faith in humanity wasn't lost after watching that movie, not because I couldn't emotionally comprehend it, but because actually I have lived a life extremely similar to the characters of that film and watching my own life on the screen is not going to make me be madder at humanity than I am. Similarly, I didn't understand that things that have an erotic connotation could have "desensitization" effects on other people. The same reason is why I never considered it a morally heinous behavior from Halsey to appear in, practically, underwear on the stage. Yes, of course, erotically healthy adults shouldn't be exposed to women in lingerie in settings that really don't call for it, because erotic-style feelings should be something that belongs to marriage, but from my experience I can tell you, if you have been raped as a child, you will gain this ability to feel absolutely nothing about things that are erotically arousing for healthy people. So, you can go on the stage in underwear and have absolutely gorgeous body and not a second emotionally register how it impacts the audience. Should you be condemned for doing something that affected others negatively while you couldn't comprehend the negative impact? I don't think so. Careful, with raped children it is not a matter of conscious comprehension that they appear to not have certain abnormal moral sensitivities about erotic issues, it is hugely about subconscious, so even if Halsey would actually be reminded that her clothing is totally of place for the occasion, she wouldn't change her decision, because her subconscious would block that information from being integrated inside her. Unless the cycle of trauma is completed, or if you want to have a less serious term, unless trauma is healed, raped children won't have many sensitivities that ordinary people naturally have.
Here and there I have indicated that I do not wish to marry someone from Iran, and regardless of what you think is my motivation, it's a matter of principle, probably a principle that I have adopted upon birth. I do not wish to marry someone from the same cultural and ethnic, or even nationality, because of this ideal of nomad lifestyle, which I would refer to as "I'm homeless." And it is not just a statement I'm making, I understand international marriages can be extremely challenging, because if ordinary couples complain about how hard to understand men and women are to one another, international couples won't ever be successful unless they subscribe themselves not to the culture of the wife, nor the husband, neither a possible combination of both, rather a sort-of third-culture that people like "us", people who are "philosophically born, live and die homeless" have. But, yes, what I want, has costs: one of them being that you need to, at some point, learn the culture(s) that that individual has grown a good period of their childhood in, whether it being the language, or visiting the places, or visiting his or her parental home, or consuming excessively artworks from there, or whatever else that is important to your partner, you need to do it. So, I don't wish this note be read as an encouragement for arrogance regarding your beloved's backgrounds.
But as said, I believe there has to be some "third-culture" coming in between. And with all these introductions, I wished to discuss just one tiny tiny tiny tiny example about using a single term.
A while ago I saw a clip of Keira Knightley because I was preparing some material to reflect on the movie Pirates of the Caribbean, but that interview became important to me for another reason: there, a seventeen or eighteen years old is talking about a member of the opposite sex in the context of possible future spouse and uses the term "sexy."
In parts, I didn't find the right place to publish that video and the remarks about why it matters to me, in parts, I didn't wish to explain why using the term "sexy" is such a big deal to me. When you really love someone, and you are totally on your own, and things in your life are really out of order, and you have lots things inside yourself that takes lots of your time, –and by the way, I'm not a smart person,– so, if you make a good enough scheme, probably I fall prey to it. I understand that women have to make sure whether a man's interest is genuine or not, but sometimes the irritation I have caused in my exchange partner, and me having seen similar interactions later on in books and movies and how the narrow ways common sense suggests to interpret a man's reaction, sometimes I feel like these indirect ways of making sure a man's interest in oneself is genuine or not, have led the judgment of that particular individual astray. The instance regarding the use of the term "sexy" was that I was being told by someone that regardless of my cultural background that term is not something you say to a woman. To be honest, even me myself, I really have no idea how people in Iran or in any country use the term "sexy" in their language and conversation. Yes, I have lived in Iran for about more than thirteen years, but I don't know that, simply because I was never interested in marriage-related things in Iran. So, I really have no idea how could she come to the conclusion that there is no culture on earth where referring to a woman by such an adjective is appropriate; I don't think, she is such bold an idiot and arrogant enough to generalize her own mother tongue to the rest of world, but I accept her judgment if few people from different cultures and languages have made her such interpretation. I hope the God protects me and people I love from outsider's intrusion, even if it being damaging results out of good intentions. And I pray the Lord's punishment for whomever, who knowingly contributes to misunderstandings and any worst effects between us.
Back to the story, I was listening and dancing to the newly released music of Amy MacDonald, "Woman Of The World"; I had fallen asleep in the afternoon till early night, and so when I woke up I had just taken off my clothes, and I was in my underwear, and there is no pocket to put the phone inside, so I was holding it with whatever possible, and so my body touched the screen and it accidentally changed to an interview with Keira Knightley on Youtube and me being too lame to switch back to the music, watched the interview. And there again, this time it isn't an inexperienced young woman who don't know what words are appropriate to be used in an interview, there is a married woman, a mother, an experienced highly successful professional actress using the same term in the same context.
I learned about Keira Knightley being married when I was preparing the piece about "what gives me purpose and happiness," in which I kind of try to make it sounds like Keira Knightley and I are so alike that we are almost soulmates, but now that I know she has a daughter and that her daughter reacted to Trump's being elected with "fuck," I can't be more regretful about the possibility of us being forever gone. But jokes about how me and Keira Knightley are hypothetically perfect for each other aside, I think in that third-culture, obviously, erotic is something that belongs after marriage and intercourse is something that you engage in mostly because you wish to have the God gifting you a child, and I think in this moral style, especially if you are interested in marrying someone, or the theme of the conversation is about whether you should have married someone or not, the question whether such individual is sexy in your view or not, is so essential. I mean, there are lots of relevant issues, but most of them can be tackled after marriage as well, like wealth, cultural differences, or even in-born things like age difference, you can figure out how to interact with each other after marriage, if two of you really love each other and are really suitable for one another as lovers. But if someone isn't "sexy," marriage itself would become questionable. Because marriage is in the hope of building a family with someone, and in part, okay maybe not everyone should be a parent, but most people would like to have a child(ren) and while "sexy" sounds too casual, I mean, it's far more appropriate than saying: "I want this man or woman be the father or mother of our children." Firstly, that's too long; secondly, it is too children focus. Maybe you have sex with someone, and you two never conceive a child, so what then? If you love each other, why not! So, you don't want to have everything depending on whether you can actually have a child with someone or not, but indicating in few words that you are interested in having a child with someone is, I think, the ultimate shortest possible way of telling: "someone appears to your heart as if he or she fulfills all the criteria of being the co-founder of your future family together ..." And, of course, just as when I use the term "fuck", I mostly say inside myself, or at least, wish to have said something about hoping the God to protect us from whatever has caused that reaction in me, in this occasions, sure, it is the God's mercy if there is love between you and your spouse. Sometimes you can be with the person who really seemed the right guy before the engagement, but then you see the love isn't between you as it ought to have been. Maybe couple therapy would help some people, maybe an end of that relationship would be a more rationally beneficial choice, especially in the long run. I mean, you can hope, and you can pray for the God's mercy, but you can't force it. If He didn't put love between you and someone, no escape from His orders.
I understand that the term "sexy" may sound superficial, but the superficiality of it is perhaps not because of the term, but the behavior of people who are saying and receiving it. Sure, if you are someone who goes in bed with other people without marriage, perhaps the word is associated with other hopes and dreams than people who in the back of their minds strive for this ideal of living forever happily ever after together with someone and perhaps having a child or a few once upon a time ... Probably you need to ban your wrong behavior, or blame those people's behavior, instead of banning the term or prohibiting its use. I mean, even someone like Jane Austen, even in a novel like "Sense and Sensibility" with the ending like this:
Marianne Dashwood was born to an extraordinary fate. She was born to discover the falsehood of her own opinions, and to counteract, by her conduct, her most favourite maxims. She was born to overcome an affection formed so late in life as at seventeen, and with no sentiment superior to strong esteem and lively friendship, voluntarily to give her hand to another!—and THAT other, a man who had suffered no less than herself under the event of a former attachment, whom, two years before, she had considered too old to be married,—and who still sought the constitutional safeguard of a flannel waistcoat!
Throughout the whole book Jane Austen is lecturing the reader about the moral high grounds in romantic relationships and some dangers and traps, but even though the book is meant for such purposes, she talks about the most superficial criteria. In a conversation between Marianne's mother and her sister, Elinor, the mother says to the later:
[...] My partiality does not blind me; he certainly is not so handsome as Willoughby—but at the same time, there is something much more pleasing in his countenance. [...]
That's not "Sex and The City", it's Jane Austen back when a thirty-something years old man being interested in marrying a seventeen-years-old could have been considered true love, as in this story it is. Even then, the physical appearance isn't ignored; not only the physical appearance of the woman but the physical appearance of the man in the evaluation of the women of the story.
So, even if someone would interpret the notion "sexy" being only a reward of his or her merits in respect of physical appearance, even then, I don't think it can be considered offensive in the culture that Keira Knightley, Jane Austen and I share, to some extent. Look, I'm not saying physical appearance is all that matters if I refer to someone as "sexy," nor do I think other people don't misuse this term by using it in the context of being interested in sex without marriage, but I think the real blameworthy act is actually sex without marriage, not necessarily the words they use to indicate their interest.
Talking about Jane Austen's novel, let's emphasize the obvious that just because stupidly the society wants to solve all issues by legal intervention and for example dating a 17-years old by a 34-years old in today England, I guess, would be a crime, it doesn't mean Jane Austen's work is out-dated. In fact, unlike the 2008 BBC adaptation of the movie, Colonel Brandon is not at all good at dating women, certainly, he has no experience in how to seduce a young woman, and throughout the second half of the book he is practically the whole time confident that Marianne's heart is lost to him forever just as it was with the woman he had once loved. To me, that makes perfect sense, if you are bitterly unsuccessful in your first love, you'll have the tendency to believe that this was your fate and it will always be this way, same way Marianne thinks she should be in solitude because the man who was interested in her wasn't really interested in her. Again, totally in contrast to the 2008 BBC adaptation the book itself takes the issue of age difference highly seriously and devotes a great deal to demonstrate how similar Marianne and Colonel are in spirit and mentality, while the adaptation depicts a Colonel that is a slightly a womanizer and practically an attractive catch to every woman because of his wealth and charm. In the book, Colonel Brandon is actually someone who women who know him well avoid any romantic interest because they sense they can't undo the effects of a lost love. And one of the things that I really love about the book, is how expansive Jane Austen actually talks about what would have happened, had things went differently; she rest assures the audience that Willoughby, even though he is the one who can evoke the most passionate love out of Marianne within the first meeting, isn't the husband that can bring happiness to her life, because of his lack of moral sentiments:
"You consider the matter," said Elinor, "exactly as a good mind and a sound understanding must consider it; and I dare say you perceive, as well as myself, not only in this, but in many other circumstances, reason enough to be convinced that your marriage must have involved you in many certain troubles and disappointments, in which you would have been poorly supported by an affection, on his side, much less certain. Had you married, you must have been always poor. His expensiveness is acknowledged even by himself, and his whole conduct declares that self-denial is a word hardly understood by him. His demands and your inexperience together, on a small, very small income, must have brought on distresses which would not be the LESS grievous to you, from having been entirely unknown and unthought of before. YOUR sense of honour and honesty would have led you, I know, when aware of your situation, to attempt all the economy that would appear to you possible: and, perhaps, as long as your frugality retrenched only on your own comfort, you might have been suffered to practice it, but beyond that—and how little could the utmost of your single management do to stop the ruin which had begun before your marriage?— Beyond THAT, had you endeavoured, however reasonably, to abridge HIS enjoyments, is it not to be feared, that instead of prevailing on feelings so selfish to consent to it, you would have lessened your own influence on his heart, and made him regret the connection which had involved him in such difficulties?"
Marianne's lips quivered, and she repeated the word "Selfish?" in a tone that implied—"do you really think him selfish?"
"The whole of his behaviour," replied Elinor, "from the beginning to the end of the affair, has been grounded on selfishness. It was selfishness which first made him sport with your affections; which afterwards, when his own were engaged, made him delay the confession of it, and which finally carried him from Barton. His own enjoyment, or his own ease, was, in every particular, his ruling principle."
"It is very true. MY happiness never was his object."
"At present," continued Elinor, "he regrets what he has done. And why does he regret it?—Because he finds it has not answered towards himself. It has not made him happy. His circumstances are now unembarrassed—he suffers from no evil of that kind; and he thinks only that he has married a woman of a less amiable temper than yourself. But does it follow that had he married you, he would have been happy?—The inconveniences would have been different. He would then have suffered under the pecuniary distresses which, because they are removed, he now reckons as nothing. He would have had a wife of whose temper he could make no complaint, but he would have been always necessitous—always poor; and probably would soon have learned to rank the innumerable comforts of a clear estate and good income as of far more importance, even to domestic happiness, than the mere temper of a wife.
And Elinor's prediction about Willoughby's happiness becomes actually true, because he is a man who does not have high morals when it comes to romantic relationships, and it is demonstrated in all three women in his life we read about them in the story.
And that's why I wished to emphasize this story. Because the "sexiness" without morality in an individual isn't really something that would make Marianne, or me, for that matter, happy. And sure there are women out there who are physically attractive but don't reach the minimum bar of morality, I mean, if you doubt, just open a browser and search for porn websites on the web, and probably in every country, language, religion, size, shape or skin color you can find attractive women who engage in erotic activity without marriage, just as they are men who would do the same. I mean, maybe for individuals with Willoughby's mentality and worldview that's the perfectly wise way to live and actually someone like Colonel Brandon should be laughed at, but I don't think I belong to such kind of individuals, by the Lord's leave; and may the Lord protect me from ever making similar conclusions, judgments, not to mention behaviors.
The two women I mentioned are my mother and A. S., one of course in the meaning of parent-child love, the other in the sense of friendship-love which could have slipped into romance but didn’t ↩︎